Wonder Woman #70 – G. Willow Wilson, Writer; Xermanico, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Quietly Disturbing
Ray: G. Willow Wilson’s run seems determined to grapple with some rather weighty issues and tackle them through the prism of the Greek Gods, and it’s off to a very good start. After Diana’s showdown with a semi-reformed Ares, Aphrodite is taking the lead – but it’s her demigod child Atlantiades who is the focus of this arc. This non-binary angel-themed character is the God of desire, and they’re using every tool at their disposal to show up their mother – starting with what they’ve done to the small town that’s now consumed with lust and desire. This could have been an easy way to villainize the character, but it seems like they’re characterized far closer to Loki at his best – they think they’re making the town happier, but their tactics have some major issues with consent. One of the best parts of Wonder Woman #70 is the way their powers seem involuntary at times – Maggie and Cadmus both fall head-over-heels within seconds of meeting them and are ready to run off.
This is one of the slower, more dialogue-heavy issues of the run and Xermanico doesn’t have as much to work with as Cary Nord did in the previous arc, but the character work is excellent. Xermanico is another artist who came up through work on digital-first books, and along with Bruno Redondo they’re one of DC’s most consistent recent finds. The meeting between Aphrodite, Diana, and Atlantiades airs out some nasty issues from ancient times, and Aphrodite’s child does have some legitimate gripes about how they were treated. They’re not really a villain, but their actions are crossing a line – one that even the people of the town are starting to realize as following their pure desires backfires on them. The appearances of Steve Trevor were probably my least favorite parts of the issue, as it seemed like they were rehashing old issues – but there’s a twist that makes it work. This run hasn’t had a bad issue yet.
Corrina: I would say that Atlantiades is above the villain/hero label, as their perspective is so different from humans that they can’t truly comprehend the damage that they’re doing. Or it could be that Atlantiades simply doesn’t care about any damage to others either, and that’s a valid reading too. This other-worldliness combined with pettiness and inability to have empathy with humans seems a spot-on reading of the Greek Gods of mythology.
However, I wish Diana herself had that kind of multi-layered characterization but something’s been a bit missing in the past few issues. Diana’s sense of fairness, her need for truth, and her pursuit of justice are all intact. I think it’s her compassion and her empathy that’s missing as she, too, sometimes seem to be above it all. This is not the same woman who loves cake from Gail Simone’s run or the knowing one with a touch of humor from Greg Rucka’s run. She’s above it all, a little distant.
It’s a valid take on Diana but it’s not my favorite. But, given how well the gods have been drawn, like Atlantiades, Diana risks becoming a supporting player in her own title.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.